Why There Should More Graduate Programs at Christopher Newport University

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To: Kevin Hughes, Dean of Students

From: Steven Mastropaolo, Senior Undergraduate Student

Subject: Graduate Programs

Date: May 18, 2015

The purpose of this memo is to present my observation of the growing demand for graduate programs in the country and how I believe Christopher Newport University should not turn its head from the opportunity to influence young adults who are seeking higher education from a nationally accredited public university.


In general I trust that Christopher Newport University can gain national acclaim and maximize overall profitability of the University by offering more graduate programs.

Christopher Newport University offers over 30 undergraduate majors to select coursework from with even more concentrations and minors, but only three graduate programs. Though the fields of environmental science, teaching, and applied physics and computer science are indeed very relevant to the current demanded graduate programs across the country this is not sufficient to cope with the Universities growing popularity, notoriety and prestige that we have all appreciated over the past few years. Most people who are fortunate enough to call the numerous columns and archways home for a brilliant four years will also attest to the continuation of construction on and around our beautiful campus. This is because CNU is a progressive institution whose leaders believe expansion is required to perpetuate all aspects of success and productivity. However looks are only half the battle, Christopher Newport University’s undergraduate programs are some of the finest in the state rivaling only the top institutions in the country. With such a low acceptance rate and high graduation rate the school is bound to grow in terms of size and status, this means that there will be a large number of graduates looking to continue their education to graduate school. So why would the home they have learned to love turn them away just as they start on the long road to success? Christopher Newport University should start offering a wider selection of graduate programs available for undergraduates to pursue so it can take the next step in being a top tier University.

To determine whether or not this idea will add to the production and already outstanding reputation of the University I will be conducting surveys distributed to: current students of CNU and other undergraduate students in surrounding areas, recent graduates, and the CNU facility and staff. My qualitative research will use an ethnographic approach to understanding the general opinion to all parties being questioned.

Thank you for reading my proposal, I look forward to hearing any feedback you may have. I am available for contact at my student email, steven.mastropaolo.12@cnu.edu


“Increasing the number of graduate programs offered by Christopher Newport University”

In this present age, progress is the most important thing if one wishes to stay at the forefront of an industry. Radical expansion is often times necessary for a business to continue to be a player in its trade. Even if the demand for the product isn’t where it needs to be for the business to turn more of a profit it is better to have the supply without the demand than to have an excess demand for something and not provide the supply. In the case of my research study I have conducted an ethnographic case study that will provide the necessary data to determine whether it is in the best interest for Christopher Newport University to offer more than the three graduate programs already offered to students around the globe. Ever since I stepped foot on this great campus and even when the many thousands walked its paths before me it is evident that it has always been expanding. The construction goals of the university have often times seemed unachievable but they have always been completed within the allotted time. Though appearances are indeed important to attract potential supporters, the quality and presence of certain things that are to be expected when a purchase is made needs to be up to snuff with the first look appearance. Christopher Newport University is pursuing a smart and responsible business approach by expanding its campus through the Hidenwood shopping center and other surrounding properties. However sooner or later when the enrollment capacity increases even as much as 50 percent and the graduation rate continues to increase while the acceptance decrease there will be an outstanding demand for graduate programs for students who have either just graduated from CNU or who are simply looking for the best education. There is no doubt that the fields of applied physics, education and environmental science are of the most popular graduate programs but then are countless other majors undergraduate students can graduate with. This is why I propose an expansion of the graduate school at Christopher Newport University.

Keywords: expansion, relevance, Christopher Newport University, learning

Executive Summary

Above all Christopher Newport University is a business that provides the opportunity for those who want to enrich themselves to do so through higher Education. To be successful in the education industry the university in question must be able to compete with the top schools of the time. To do this higher learning institutions must be able to offer the same opportunities aspiring students can have elsewhere. Adhering to the memo sent earlier this month, the idea of offering more opportunities for students seeking a graduate degree from Christopher Newport University is a viable option contributing to the economic expansion of the university and subsequently the progress of everyone associated with its brand.

The greatest learning institutions in the nation are able to achieve such accreditation and profitability by offering the widest range of disciplines and opportunities for its enrolled student. To have such a diverse academic catalog, major universities have a greater student population to register for the various classes. Institutions like the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech Polytechnic, and George Mason University have reached the equilibrium level of national interest by having a notable academic reputation, a unique culture and student life, and various learning opportunities.

Christopher Newport University’s academic standard are up to par with other top universities across the nation so that aspect is safe from change. However the last two necessities for a university to be nationally known should be subject to change. In particular the most important, having various learning opportunities should be addressed if the university intends to maintain long run profit. As a technique to determine if more graduate opportunities would be received well by the students, who would have to commit to the new programs a questionnaire has been distributed throughout three separate demographics.


To conduct this study in a way that will result in accurate meaningful data an ethnographic approach was employed to raise awareness and gain a general opinion of the academic community surrounding Christopher Newport University. Specifically ethnographic studies are study procedures that require the researcher to observe and interact with the participants in their own real time environment. This type of study is a very useful method to get under the skin of the problem at hand and to find a deeper understanding of the cause and solution. An ethnographic approach is by far the best method because it makes the researcher interact with all given parties involved. In this situation that would be people living around Christopher Newport University campus, present and recently graduated student of Christopher Newport University and finally the staff of the university that would be required to teach the courses. The ability to observe the subjected participants is the ground work to report viable findings.

The addition of any graduate program would increase the ultimate profitability of the university. As long as the demand created by potential students who wish to continue their education. The first set of questions administered were directed at the general public acquiring about the word to mouth aspect of marketing that would naturally occur within social groups that have relationship ties to Christopher Newport University. The question set were as follows:

  1. What is the highest level of education you have completed?
  2. If you have gone to college did you graduate an undergraduate program?
  3. Have you ever thought of attending graduate school?
  4. What made you want to go to graduate school?
  5. If you attended grad school which school?
  6. What made you pick this school?
  7. If Christopher Newport University offered a program in your desired field would you apply to the program?

The intent of these queries were to determine the level of education the average person of any demographic in the surrounding area has completed. Also to define the causes of wanting to attend graduate school. The final two questions in this set inquire about the reasons while a particular one is preferred over another. Of the 15 questioned 12 were completing or had previously earned a high school diploma the last three did not. Of those twelve nine had thought about graduate school after completing undergraduate. Remarkably all nine of these finalists stated that if CNU had an open program for their desired field they would indeed apply. These nine students were ranged in locations across the entire state. These nine make up 60% of the total amount surveyed. They all agreed that they would apply without any formal or informal relation to the university beside me asking them or what they had previously heard about the institution.

The second set of questions were directly specifically to Christopher Newport University students. This was the most frequently taken survey along with being the most marketed. Through my own personal social media outlets such as: Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram and Snapchat I asked my fellow Captain including some that recently graduated in May to take my survey. In total I received 39 responses. The questions included:

  1. What year are you at CNU?
  2. What major?
  3. What is your GPA?
  4. Would you ever consider going to graduate school?
  5. For what program would you like to go to grad school for?
  6. If CNU had the program you wanted to pursue would you continue your education at CNU?
  7. If you had the means and were able to attend grad school would you go? Explain.
  8. Would you consider going to grad school at CNU after you graduate undergrad? Explain.

The most important responses being from recent graduates who would be continuing on past an undergraduate degree. Of these 39 responses 12 were students who had just recently graduated in May. The 12 students were from all different disciplines each studying various majors 8 said that they would like to go to graduate school but only two said that they would attend graduate school at Christopher Newport University. The remaining six all cited that they would like to continue they education at CNU given the chance but their programs they wished to pursue were simply not offered. These six cases are examples of dead weight lose attained by the university, a result of not offering more than the three programs already installed. The six student will most likely continue their education away from Christopher Newport where they will further another schools brand and reputation. This hole for students and profits to escape is unacceptable if long run notoriety and profits are to be sustained. Expansion calls for an organization to also be changing and different but also to be up to par with the offerings to the public. Sending six loyal students away to study at other institutions is exactly the opposite of what the school needs to be doing if national success is to be preserved.

The 27 other students who participated in the survey ranged from incoming freshman to rising seniors. Surprisingly only 13 had considered attending graduate school, exclusively only rising juniors and seniors. Again the data obtained from the survey questions suggested that students already enrolled would like to continue at Christopher Newport University If the program they wished to follow was offered. Together these two groups show that seventy percent of students currently enrolled would apply to graduate school once they completed their undergraduate degree. The two demographics created from the first two surveys shows that it would be very advantageous to offer more graduate programs. The cost of offering these new degrees would eventually outweighed by the revenue earned from the total student tuition. The biggest cost incurred would be the price of paying for the professors. This fact is the main focus of third and final study that was administered. This study was sent to professors that actively teach at Christopher Newport University. The purpose of these questions is to determine which professor in different disciplines would be willing to take on more teaching responsibilities in exchange for pay raise. Obviously out of the nine that respond to the survey agreed to the possible terms depending on the level of their pay would increase by. In addition a question on the survey included whether they thought Christopher Newport University offered the right amount of graduate programs, all nine agreed that three wasn’t the right amount.  Of the professors three identified in the psychology department, two in economics, one in business administration , one in political science, one in history, and lastly one in mathematics.  The staff questions were as follows:

  1. Where did you go to graduate school?
  1. Which discipline do you hold graduate degrees from?
  1. Do you think CNU offers the right amount of graduate programs for undergrads?
  1. How many programs should the school offer?
  1. Which Programs should be offered
  1. If a program was offered in your discipline would you consider teaching?
  1. Do you think offering more than the three programs already taught at CNU would be good for the University?

These questions showed that even the faculty and staff were on board with the possibility of changing the amount of graduate school programs offered.  The fact that 100% of the faculty questioned agree that it is time for academic expansion is testament that reform is necessary for the university to grow economically. Education is the sole reason people go to college so why would the institution offering degree want to limit the number of opportunities acceptable people have. By increasing the amount of programs the academic expansion of the university would be along the same pace as the physical growth that has been continuous over the past few years. Christopher Newport University is a relatively young university compared to its fellows around the nation. Founded in 1960 its growth will greatly depend on its educational offering not just its attractive physical features.


Based on the received answers of the 63 people involved good majority thought it would be in the best interest of the university to start expanding its graduate program studies. To be exact forty-two out of the total sixty-three all agreed. This 67% is an excellent indicator of people who choose to put faith in the type of enrichment Christopher Newport University can offer. The remaining 33% either did not apply to the overall question or simply did not have any interest in the subject.

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Christopher Newport University has the potential to climb the social latter to the top rankings of school in the country. Ranked number nineteenth in Virginia by http://www.4icu.org a website that ranks all learning institutions in the country, the top seven in the state have a combined total of over 200 masters programs available. None of the top seven school have less the 20 programs offered by at least 8 different schools within the university. This is a clear gauge of the level of operations these top tier universities are at. Some with as much as half a million dollars in research funds (Virginia-Tech) The bottom line is that Christopher Newport University needs to continue its perpetual growth to stay significant in the rising demand for masters programs by young professional across the country. To maintain profitability businesses must reach out to take advantages of present opportunities masters programs within graduate schools are often prices around $20,000-$30,000 per year, this amount between the 138 current graduate students enrolled at Christopher Newport University is trivial compared to 7200 graduate students that attend Virginia-Tech or George Mason University. The addition of more programs opens up the opportunity for the university to make more money to be spent on its overall growth. This also opens up the possibility for student across the world to come to Christopher Newport universities beautiful campus to better themselves by means of a great education that they can then take into the business world to actively contribute to employing companies.


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